The mark of a true professional is to treat every project with the greatest of care and attention to detail, but if we’re being honest, some projects are just more special than others. Toronto photographer Michelle Gibson knew she was in for something amazing when she won the bid to shoot the images for Holland Bloorview’s annual report. Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is Canada’s largest child rehab hospital focused on improving the lives of kids with disabilities. The hospital is a pioneer in treatments, technologies, therapies, and real world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life. Their vision is to create a world of possibilities for the children. Michelle was pleased that the art director had an equally clear vision for the images she wanted for the report.
Preproduction was pretty quick and clean. I was lucky to work with an art director who knew exactly what she was after and she communicated that to me effectively. After I understood the demands of the Annual Report (statistically driven, with lots of information), I understood the need for the communications team to have imagery that not only spoke to the emotion, but also had clean backgrounds and shallow depth of field so that they could use the space to plot the information. I went in for a location scout of the hospital and shot a bunch of potential background options and from that, we organized the shot list. Preproduction was very much a team effort.
Their goal was to focus on the abilities of the various patients who use the services of the hospital and to highlight the staff’s dedication to their hard-working patients. During the shoot, Michelle was inspired by the enthusiasm of the children and the wonderful and caring staff at the hospital.
The amazing kids kept smiling and had such great energy! There was one child in particular, Henry, who took incredible direction. I thought I couldn’t keep up with him. He stood on chairs and held colorful boxes in different positions, it was very inspiring for me and a moment that I will always remember. I am thankful he let me into his world and to share in those photographic moments together.
Michelle’s images were received very well by the hospital, and she landed another job from the project. She has started to market the photos to other clients and has created a theme of working with people who have inspiring stories.
To view more of Michelle’s work check out michellegibsonphoto.com.